Ah, Winter... That time of year when some of us stand out in the cold night air and watch puffs of breath dance as we muse about life, and others stomp frozen-toed feet in our boots wondering when Spring is finally going to get here. No matter which camp you're in, we hope everyone had a safe and wonderful holiday season and we look forward to sharing this New Year together!
Most of the outdoor work has been completed for the new pasture--water lines with the solar pasture tubs are still to come. We are continuing to update outside fixtures with new LED security lights. Pending the weather and contractor's schedule, we will also be moving the single car garage, completing new electric service, and working on the run-in shed configuration for the west pastures. Our volunteers are tireless in their dedication!
We received 15 loads of CR-6 (that's like a crushed stone for those of us scratching our heads) which will be used for our new north parking area. Thank you to Pioneer Materials for the generous donation and special thanks to Jimmy Messick for coordinating and receiving this material.
And all of the stall mats have been replaced, so our happy horses wish to thank the volunteers who work so hard to keep them comfortable, safe, and warm.
Preliminary work has started for our fire protection systems. Also still to come, we are hoping to eventually replace all those faucets in the barn that leak to drain.
Thank you Mr. Tom Peet for filling us in on what's new from the maintenance and construction side of life...these behind the scenes activities are so instrumental to what we do!
Maybe that's because it's the day of the week when she gets to visit and hug so many of her two- and four-legged friends. Once Tuesday rounds the bend, Paige starts asking when she will be "doing horses" again. Molly is her favorite four-legged pal to ride. It could be because Molly can look Paige in the eye without having to bend her head down, or maybe it's because Molly has the fastest walk and trot this side of the Mississippi! For Paige, there can never be too much trotting and it is never fast enough--this cowgirl has even been known to ride her horse backwards!
Whenever she is at the barn, Paige makes sure to spread her sunshine to everyone--that includes all of the horses, Gidget and Gadget the cats, Willow and Quigley the goats, and all of us human-folk. Her instructor Georgia says, "Paige is an absolute delight to work with. From the minute she walks into the barn--she lights up everything. Her hugs and smile are contagious and without exception everyone says she makes their day. Paige knows what she wants and is not shy about letting you know! We love having Paige in the SDTR family!"
Paige originally started horseback riding to help with her balance and listening skills. Jumping on one foot or walking on a balance beam were challenging activities for her. Because of her low muscle tone, keeping her core muscles strong was a vital piece to helping accomplish her milestone goals. Over the past year, Paige's family has noticed a gradual increase in her ability to maintain her balance. She runs with more confidence, has improved her hop-scotch game, and is working to conquer that goal of jumping multiple times on one foot. While her focus and attention to direction may come and go, being given multi-step instructions while riding has helped to improve her cognitive abilities and has reinforced the importance of staying on task.
Riding at SDTR gives Paige a great opportunity outside of school to continue working on skills that she needs to function in life. "That she gets to do this in an atmosphere dripping with understanding and unconditional friendship," her family says, " just makes it that much easier." Between the singing and hugging with volunteers, dancing with Georgia, and all the horse hugs a kid could ever want, Paige anticipates each week with great excitement. Well guess what, Paige? We feel the same way!
Ken and Lorrie Stroup have been a part of the SDTR family since 2003. Their daughter Anna started riding when she was 7 years old and rode until she was 19. As in their case, many of our wonderful families end up joining our team of volunteers when they see what a rewarding experience it is.
What this dynamic duo enjoys most about volunteering with SDTR is the camaraderie felt between volunteers while working with the students and families to reach their ultimate goals. By giving a helping hand, they hope to help instructors have one less thing to worry about so they can focus on their riders and horses.
Ken's friends at SDTR know him as a dependable and talented guy to have around the farm. He never turns down a challenge and is a pleasure to work with when participating in many of the upgrades done since purchasing the new farm. Lorrie says, "It is such a pleasure to watch the program grow...when we started in 2003, there were 3 horses, and now look at us!"
Lorrie has volunteered in many capacities, including assisting at fundraisers and performing administrative work--the behind the scenes operations that keep this program running like a well-oiled machine!
Thank you Ken and Lorrie for all you do, and cheers to you both!
You may or may not know that SDTR is a PATH center, but have you ever wondered what that means? PATH International stands for the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, an organization whose mission is to inspire and enrich the lives of those with special needs through equine-assisted activities. PATH Itnl programs, instructors, and volunteers follow carefully thought-out standards to promote a culture of safety, understanding, and ethical treatment of humans and horses in these therapies.
You can become a PATH Intl. member for only $60 per year and have access to a wealth of resources, educational materials, and networking opportunities with like-minded folks who are passionate about what we do! With your membership, you will receive the quarterly magazine PATH Intl. Strides as well as the bi-monthly e-newsletter Path Intl. News.
These publications will keep you up to date and in the know with the latest news, information and events, like the upcoming Region 2 Conference being held March 31st-April 1st at the Crowne Plaza in Monroe, New Jersey. This event is a great learning experience for all--from volunteers, to instructors, or board members--you can easily go online to register. Visit PATH Itnl's website to learn more and become a member!